D. Awakening with rich red mat.

Feline Linoleum Block Prints

I really enjoy working in this medium and I can free myself from the traditional media and a greater realism in rendering. Linoleum block printing is a technique wherein the artist carves the surface of a piece of artist’s linoleum, leaving raised areas which will become the image. Ink is rolled onto these raised areas, then a piece of paper is pressed against the block and when it’s lifted away the ink remains, leaving the image on the paper.

The resulting work isn’t a one-time thing, but meant to be printed multiple times–and I do, on just about anything I can think of. They all start out on paper, but they’ve been printed on t-shirts and dresses and aprons and curtains, to name a few things. I will sometimes add color to them with watercolor or dyes to give them extra interest. The resulting work, even though they are all printed from the same block, is a unique print, still handmade by the artist.

A. Awakening, block print © Bernadette E. Kazmarski

“Awakening” is a linoleum block print, 16″ in diameter, printed in water-based ink on handmade white rice paper or rice paper with silver and gold foil speckles.

Quote reads: ” ‘Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.’–Anatole France. Dedicated to my prince and princess and all those since who’ve awakened their part of my soul.”

“Awakening” was inspired by my close companions Kublai and Sally who ran the household together for about 12 years and who actually slept curled like this (photo below). I enjoyed following the inspiration to combine the image of the two cats with the decorative border simply made of shapes and patterns that were both attractive and easy to cut in a block print. Please read more about the print and the inspiration of Kublai and Sally, including the photo of them I used as the basis for the print, below.

These lists and galleries explain the variations available with this print: a gallery of detail images of the print in black only, a gallery of hand-colored variations, and a gallery of matted variations and the typical frame I offer. Custom color tinting is available as well as custom mat and frame. Pricing grid is below the galleries.

Choices for your print:

Matted and framed, tinted print, $150.00
Matted and framed, black print, $125.00
Matted only, tinted print, $100.00
Matted only, black print, $75.00
Print only, tinted, $75.00
Print only, black print, $50.00

Detail images of the print

Hand-tinting variations

Hand-tinting style:

 

  • Warm and Bright
  • Cool and Pastel
  • Spring
  • Single color or other combination (use text box below to specify)

Mats and frames

Mat color and frame sample:
Black
Rich Red
Pacific Blue
Other (use text box below to specify) Note that specialty mats other than acid-free mats and other frames than what is shown may cost extra.

Choose your print style:

ABOUT THE PRINT

Quote reads: “‘Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.’–Anatole France. Dedicated to my prince and princess and all those since who’ve awakened their part of my soul.”

“Awakening” was inspired by my close companions Kublai and Sally who ran the household together for about 12 years and who actually slept curled like this. I enjoyed following the inspiration to combine the image of the two cats with the decorative border simply made of shapes and patterns that were both attractive and easy to cut in a block print.

I had seen the quote in a number of different places, and of all the quotes about how animals fill our souls this one, the concept of awakening, I found most moving. These two cats, especially Kublai, the black one, were a major part of my awakening not only to animals but to love in general.

Aside from the fact that they were both loving, friendly and social, they were complete opposites in the way they expressed this love and were as different in temperament as they were in color and texture as the loose reference to yin and yang illustrates.

In their own ways they nurtured about 30 foster cats of widely differing ages and social abilities, just as they nurtured me in the years they shared my life.

“Kublai” is somehow derived from the word for “prince” in Sanskrit, and “Sally” is derived from the word for “princess”—Sarah—in Hebrew.

Block printing is a technique wherein the artist carves the surface of a piece of linoleum, leaving raised areas which will become the image. Ink is rolled onto these raised areas, then a piece of paper is pressed against the block and when it’s lifted away the ink remains, leaving the image on the paper.

I also print this image on textiles, such as t-shirts, curtains, tablecloths, shawls and tote bags! Please check my apparel and housewares categories to see what’s currently available.

Because of the nature of the medium, each print is unique and ink coverage is not always perfect. Most artists consider this random activity to be part of the process of creating an individualized print, and along with the hand-painting makes a unique work of art.

Mat is an acid-free rich red, my favorite shade to coordinate with plain black and white block prints; not too bright, not too dull. I cut the circular mat myself in my studio; the narrowest portion of the mat is 1.5″. The frame is a 1″ wide plain black matte-finish wood. The final framed size is 21″ x 21”.

I apologize for the photos—with or without glass it was a little difficult to photograph!

A. Framed, double matted, tinted print (as shown), 16 x 20

Sometimes when I look at Kelly the only feature I can distinguish in all those tortie markings is her extremely round eyes.

“The Roundest Eyes” is a hand printed, hand tinted linoleum block print of a very slender  tortoiseshell cat with very round eyes, matted and framed and ready to hang. Image is 8″ x 12″, with mat and frame outside dimensions 11″ x 14″ or 16″ x 20″. “The Goddess” is the other print in this set.

Options for ordering:

A. Framed, double matted, tinted print (as shown), 16 x 20, $75.00
B. Framed, single matted (cream black core), tinted print, 11 x 14, $60.00
C. Double matted, tinted print, 16 x 20, $55.00
D. Single matted (cream black core), tinted print, 11 x 14, $50.00
E. Print only, tinted, $40.00
F. Print only, black and white, $30.00

Choose your print style:

ABOUT THE PRINT

As you know, I am unendingly inspired by my houseful of felines, especially my Tortie Girls. I initially designed these in 2001 because I wanted something I could print myself on a variety of things to offer inexpensively for sale and for donation; at the time high quality home printers and inexpensive digital printing were a few years in the future and all I had to offer was original art and expensive giclees.

Unlike many of the other prints I sell, I print these by hand from a hand-cut linoleum block, then each print is hand-painted in watercolor, and with the slight variations in the printing process and the individualized coloration each print is just as unique as torties themselves. “The Goddess”, featuring Cookie, is the other print in this set, and I have more information on her, below.

What enchanted me first about block prints years ago, and what I wanted most to see when I began creating with them, was the clarity of black ink on white rice paper. While I often use other colors of ink and types of paper, and when the image is my tortie girls, usually also tinted with oranges and yellows and green for their eyes, pink for nose as I had designed, the black on white is what I usually return to.

When I initially print these two they are that familiar black ink on white, and I watch the ink reveal all the cuts and trims I made on the surface of the block to create their image, it makes me smile as I remember designing the prints and cutting the blocks, and I remember my girls and the inspiration they gave me.

The Roundest Eyes

"The Roundest Eyes", linoleum block print, 9 x 12 © Bernadette E. Kazmarski

“The Roundest Eyes”, linoleum block print, 9 x 12 © Bernadette E. Kazmarski

In designing the set, I didn’t have a signature photo of Kelly as I did Cookie lying on the floor, but I did know how I thought of Kelly—sitting at attention, paws and tail neatly placed, a little uncertain and with very round eyes. When I pictured her, this was what I saw.

I began with a few photos of Kelly sitting in this position—in the days before digitals so I had to wait for film to be developed—sketched it out, then filled in the details by observation. It was a real trick since Kelly never sits still for too long. And I actually wanted two different orientations so Cookie was the horizontal image and Kelly the vertical one.

The design of “The Roundest Eyes” doesn’t have a long and detailed story as does “The Goddess”, but between the two, while Cookie gets more notice and stories which I’ve collected over the years, Kelly sells more t-shirts and prints…we just never let Cookie know that. Last year a young couple just getting engaged purchased one of each shirt to wear in their engagement photos too!

Customizing your tortie print

To a certain extent I can take an untinted print and hand-tint it to resemble your favorite tortie. I can’t remove any of the black that is there or paint over it, but I’ve done several to date. Here are examples of how I customized “The Goddess”.

Rosie from the UK

tortie cat in the grass
Rosie from the United Kingdom

“I found your print of “The Goddess” and think she looks like my cat, Rosie…I live in the UK and was wondering if it was possible to get a print without the frame… If they’re not coloured, would it be possible to get one coloured like Rosie if I sent you a photo? I’m assuming not but thought I’d ask! (Of course I could, and the finished print is below.)

“We got Rosie when I was 11. My dad told me we were going to mum’s boss’s house to pick something up and asked if I wanted to go with him, and as Annie, the boss, had two ginger cats my sisters and I loved to play with I went. When I got there I saw a tiny purring little bundle of fluff and claws and played with her for about an hour. Then dad came in and told me to pick her up, we were going home!

“15 years later, and we’ve moved to another city. Rosie is still going strong, mum had a terrifying moment a few years ago when she felt a lump in Rosie’s belly and [went] to the vets with the instructions to not allow her to be in pain….The vet sent her back with a packet of diet cat food. She’s a wonderful purry old thing, with a beautiful temperament—she had to have one to grow up in a house of 3 little girls and all the neighbourhood kids!

tortoiseshell cat print
Polly as The Goddess

“Whilst we got Rosie as a kitten, Polly is the tortie who holds my heart. She was much more than a cat and was my constant companion for the two years we had her. I adored her, she adored me. Then one night she escaped, and my housemate forgot about her and didn’t let her in. I returned home to find her missing and we spent 4 days looking for her, I was distraught and couldn’t cope without her, but then we got a phone call from the vets, Polly was found by a lovely lady (who was also owned by a tortie – Mitzy) who realised how sick she was and took her to the vets. She lasted 2 days before dying of anti-freeze poisoning.”

A tortie print to honor your favorite tortie

I love a good rescue story, and I am always heartened by the stories of rescues and so much love that people share about the torties who share their lives.

Java

A customer ordered this matted and framed print a few days ago. I received the notice in e-mail, then just a few minutes later I received an e-mail from that customer with a photo attached.

“Hi, Bernadette…just thought you’d like to see who I’ve purchased your piece in memory of. This is Java…the best little tortie girl I’ve had the pleasure of knowing. Can’t wait to get it.”

tortoiseshell cat
Java, a beloved tortie cat.

Java is lovely with those pale green eyes and lots of speckles all through her fur, and a very direct and focused expression. Torties are unique not only in markings but also in purrrsonality, and whether they be the ones who make it clear they are the boss or, like my Cookie and Kelly, are non-stop sweet, they are devoted and demand your devotion in return.

I’m always sad at the loss of a kitty and couldn’t be more honored than for someone to purchase a piece of my artwork as a permanent memory of a beloved cat. I was very touched for Java’s human to send Java’s photo and her note along with her order and I asked if I could share Java’s photo and her note. It warms my heart, as I remember Kelly and near the first anniversary of her passing, to know that her Kelly’s image is traveling off to another household to provide comfort and love. I promise my cats they will never be forgotten and I always hope my art ensures that.

My sympathies to Java’s human, I know that she will be one of the torties I think about when I look at prints of The Roundest Eyes.

Flourish-darkgray-100Don’t miss any new items or opportunities!

“Follow” the Portraits of Animals blog with the link in the upper left. Sign up to receive posts in email, or in your favorite reader using the links in the right-hand column.

Sign up for e-newsletters

You can also sign up for my monthly e-newsletters to receive special discounts and find out where I’ll be with my artwork.

Click here for the Creative Cat Preview E-newsletter, for feline and animal-specific products and information.

Click here for the Art & Merchandise E-newsletter, for landscapes, nature, urban scenes and more.

. . . . . . .

© 2017 | www.PortraitsOfAnimals.net | Published by Bernadette E. Kazmarski

All images used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission. Please ask if you are interested in using one in a print or internet publication. If you are interested in purchasing a print of this image or a product including this image, check to see if I have it available already. If you don’t find it there, visit “purchasing” for availability and terms.

 

"Tortie Girls" set of matted and framed block prints.

“Tortie Girls” are hand printed, hand tinted linoleum block prints of my two tortoiseshell cats, one very round and one very slender, “The Goddess” and “The Roundest Eyes” matted and framed and ready to hang. Image is 8″ x 12″, with mat and frame outside dimensions 11″ x 14″ or 16″ x 20″. You can read more about the girls and the prints below.

"Tortie Girls" set of matted and framed block prints.

“Tortie Girls” set of matted and framed block prints.

Order your set:

You can also order these prints individually:

The Goddess

The Roundest Eyes

And see the whole collection of prints, tees, trays and table linens on The Tortie Girls Linoleum Block Prints.

ABOUT THE PRINTS

As you know, I am unendingly inspired by my houseful of felines, especially my Tortie Girls. I initially designed these in 2001 because I wanted something I could print myself on a variety of things to offer inexpensively for sale and for donation; at the time high quality home printers and inexpensive digital printing were a few years in the future and all I had to offer was original art and expensive giclees.

Unlike many of the other prints I sell, I print these by hand from a hand-cut linoleum block, then each print is hand-painted in watercolor, and with the slight variations in the printing process and the individualized coloration each print is just as unique as torties themselves. “The Goddess”, featuring Cookie, is the other print in this set, and I have more information on her, below.

What enchanted me first about block prints years ago, and what I wanted most to see when I began creating with them, was the clarity of black ink on white rice paper. While I often use other colors of ink and types of paper, and when the image is my tortie girls, usually also tinted with oranges and yellows and green for their eyes, pink for nose as I had designed, the black on white is what I usually return to.

When I initially print these two they are that familiar black ink on white, and I watch the ink reveal all the cuts and trims I made on the surface of the block to create their image, it makes me smile as I remember designing the prints and cutting the blocks, and I remember my girls and the inspiration they gave me.

The Goddess

“The Goddess” came along first and I actually have photos of the process, but I knew right away she’d have to have a companion print.

I looked at Cookie on the kitchen floor, on her back with her toes curled, a defiant look on her face, and it happened—that moment of visualization. I could see a linoleum block print in black ink on white rice paper, hand-tinted with oranges and yellows for the patches in Cookie’s tortoiseshell fur and green for her eyes and pink for her nose. I would call the print “The Goddess” for the many women depicted with generous figures in sculpture and painting through the millennia.

Compare the photo and the print:

tortie cat on back
Reference photo for “The Goddess”
Cookie, “The Goddess” block print © B.E. Kazmarski

From the time I first described the idea to someone, who chuckled at the idea of the image, I knew Cookie was a winner. And through the years she has continued to bring people and stories to my display no matter where I am—everyone knows a cat who looks like Cookie!

linoleum block
Linoleum block for The Goddess, of course it’s in reverse.

Cookie inspired not only a design, but a particular style and technique and a new element to my creative life and my merchandise. With an inspiration that strong, I probably would have done it anyway, but I had other reasons as well. In the late 1990s having my sketches and paintings reproduced was still expensive and not always successful and I wanted artwork that I could reproduce easily and inexpensively myself so that I could have something more affordable than original artwork to sell in my displays.

I’d worked with small linoleum block prints for years and always enjoyed the medium, but this time I decided I wanted something larger and I might actually create a series—which led to “The Roundest Eyes” depicting my other tortie, Kelly, a few months later. Between the two, Cookie gets more notice and stories, but Kelly sells more t-shirts and prints…we just never let Cookie know that.

Capturing all Cookie’s freckles and spots and stripes was indeed a challenge, especially when I went to actually cut them out of the surface of the linoleum block.

Cookie’s face in closeup from the photo:

tortie cat on floor
Cookie’s face from the photo.

Cookie’s face in the block:

detail of linoleum block.
Closeup of Cookie’s face in linoleum block; the light areas are the smooth surface that holds the ink.

And here is Cookie’s face, printed and colored!

block print of cat
Closeup of Cookie’s face from “The Goddess”.

The Roundest Eyes

"The Roundest Eyes," matted and framed hand-tinted linoleum block print.
“The Roundest Eyes,” matted and framed hand-tinted linoleum block print.

In designing the set, I didn’t have a signature photo of Kelly as I did Cookie lying on the floor, but I did know how I thought of Kelly—sitting at attention, paws and tail neatly placed, a little uncertain and with very round eyes. When I pictured her, this was what I saw.

I began with a few photos of Kelly sitting in this position—in the days before digitals so I had to wait for film to be developed—sketched it out, then filled in the details by observation. It was a real trick since Kelly never sits still for too long. And I actually wanted two different orientations so Cookie was the horizontal image and Kelly the vertical one.

The design of “The Roundest Eyes” doesn’t have a long and detailed story as does “The Goddess”, but between the two, while Cookie gets more notice and stories which I’ve collected over the years, Kelly sells more t-shirts and prints…we just never let Cookie know that. Last year a young couple just getting engaged purchased one of each shirt to wear in their engagement photos too!

Customizing your tortie print

To a certain extent I can take an untinted print and hand-tint it to resemble your favorite tortie. I can’t remove any of the black that is there or paint over it, but I’ve done several to date.

Rosie from the UK

tortie cat in the grass
Rosie from the United Kingdom

“I found your print of “The Goddess” and think she looks like my cat, Rosie…I live in the UK and was wondering if it was possible to get a print without the frame… If they’re not coloured, would it be possible to get one coloured like Rosie if I sent you a photo? I’m assuming not but thought I’d ask! (Of course I could, and the finished print is below.)

“We got Rosie when I was 11. My dad told me we were going to mum’s boss’s house to pick something up and asked if I wanted to go with him, and as Annie, the boss, had two ginger cats my sisters and I loved to play with I went. When I got there I saw a tiny purring little bundle of fluff and claws and played with her for about an hour. Then dad came in and told me to pick her up, we were going home!

“15 years later, and we’ve moved to another city. Rosie is still going strong, mum had a terrifying moment a few years ago when she felt a lump in Rosie’s belly and [went] to the vets with the instructions to not allow her to be in pain….The vet sent her back with a packet of diet cat food. She’s a wonderful purry old thing, with a beautiful temperament—she had to have one to grow up in a house of 3 little girls and all the neighbourhood kids!

tortoiseshell cat print
Polly as The Goddess

“Whilst we got Rosie as a kitten, Polly is the tortie who holds my heart. She was much more than a cat and was my constant companion for the two years we had her. I adored her, she adored me. Then one night she escaped, and my housemate forgot about her and didn’t let her in. I returned home to find her missing and we spent 4 days looking for her, I was distraught and couldn’t cope without her, but then we got a phone call from the vets, Polly was found by a lovely lady (who was also owned by a tortie – Mitzy) who realised how sick she was and took her to the vets. She lasted 2 days before dying of anti-freeze poisoning.”

A tortie print to honor your favorite tortie

I love a good rescue story, and I am always heartened by the stories of rescues and so much love that people share about the torties who share their lives.

Tasha

A customer ordered a print of “Dinnertime” along with an unframed hand-tinted print of “The Goddess”. I told her the story of Cookie and she told me the story of Tasha, below.

“I just purchased both of them as an anniversary present for my husband. I really like all your art work, but decided on those two because (1)We have three cats and (2)my husband’s baby is a fat (one-eyed, formerly feral) tortie . . . My husband rescued Tasha (tortie) when she was six weeks old. He was working on a job site near a dairy barn in 2003 and found her — she was really sick with a herpes infection in her right eye. We took her to the vet and she recovered immediately after getting care (although she lost the sight in that eye), and we’ve had her ever since. She has never wanted to go outside again . . . We have two other rescue males, but she’s the queen of the house (most of the time!) and has my husband wrapped around her little paw . . . All the best and thanks so much for rescuing Cookie and other kitties . . .”

photo of tortie cat
Tasha, the rescued tortie.

Now there’s a cat guy! He gets a print of a tortie and three cats eating for his anniversary present, reminiscent of the cat he rescued. I love knowing my girls have a share of immortality when their prints go off to live in other homes and celebrate other tortie cats. You can also read a list of other tortie stories I’ve collected at shows and festivals when people see “The Goddess” especially in “The Goddess Truly Inspires” and “The Artist’s Life: Still Inspiring” as well as “Featured Artwork: The Roundest Eyes”.

Kitty

“This cat on the tee looks so much like my cat “Kitty”. She was a rescue cat..she just showed up at my door, and I took her in. I loved her..she slept with me..back to back, lol. But because of my allergy I needed to give her to a good home. I miss her so much..but it was something I needed to do.”

Kitty’s mom ordered a tee to remember Kitty.

tortoiseshell cat
SadieCat relaxing among the library books.

SadieCat

SadieCat’s mom bought a hand-colored print for herself as a birthday gift.

“…I especially love the pictures of the tortie cats. When I saw the block print of “The Goddess” my heart stopped. Three years ago I rescued a starving little kitten who soon became the love of my life. I couldn’t help myself from attaching a couple of pictures of SadieCat (seen here). Someplace I have a photo where she looks exactly like your print, but I couldn’t find it.

tortoiseshell cat face
Now there’s a face!

“[Sadiecat] will only consent to being held when she’s in the mood and she’ll bite if you’re late with her dinner, but I love her and wouldn’t have her any other way. (Well, I could probably do without the biting). And thanks for…putting Sadie out there, I’m too shy. She’s shy too, but what she doesn’t know won’t hurt her.”

Visit the original post, The Goddess Truly Inspires, to read more stories and to add your own.

The Roundest Eyes

"The Roundest Eyes", linoleum block print, 9 x 12 © Bernadette E. Kazmarski

“The Roundest Eyes”, linoleum block print, 9 x 12 © Bernadette E. Kazmarski

In designing the set, I didn’t have a signature photo of Kelly as I did Cookie lying on the floor, but I did know how I thought of Kelly—sitting at attention, paws and tail neatly placed, a little uncertain and with very round eyes. When I pictured her, this was what I saw.

I began with a few photos of Kelly sitting in this position—in the days before digitals so I had to wait for film to be developed—sketched it out, then filled in the details by observation. It was a real trick since Kelly never sits still for too long. And I actually wanted two different orientations so Cookie was the horizontal image and Kelly the vertical one.

The design of “The Roundest Eyes” doesn’t have a long and detailed story as does “The Goddess”, but between the two, while Cookie gets more notice and stories which I’ve collected over the years, Kelly sells more t-shirts and prints…we just never let Cookie know that. Last year a young couple just getting engaged purchased one of each shirt to wear in their engagement photos too!

Customizing your tortie print

To a certain extent I can take an untinted print and hand-tint it to resemble your favorite tortie. I can’t remove any of the black that is there or paint over it, but I’ve done several to date. Here are examples of how I customized “The Goddess”.

Rosie from the UK

tortie cat in the grass
Rosie from the United Kingdom

“I found your print of “The Goddess” and think she looks like my cat, Rosie…I live in the UK and was wondering if it was possible to get a print without the frame… If they’re not coloured, would it be possible to get one coloured like Rosie if I sent you a photo? I’m assuming not but thought I’d ask! (Of course I could, and the finished print is below.)

“We got Rosie when I was 11. My dad told me we were going to mum’s boss’s house to pick something up and asked if I wanted to go with him, and as Annie, the boss, had two ginger cats my sisters and I loved to play with I went. When I got there I saw a tiny purring little bundle of fluff and claws and played with her for about an hour. Then dad came in and told me to pick her up, we were going home!

“15 years later, and we’ve moved to another city. Rosie is still going strong, mum had a terrifying moment a few years ago when she felt a lump in Rosie’s belly and [went] to the vets with the instructions to not allow her to be in pain….The vet sent her back with a packet of diet cat food. She’s a wonderful purry old thing, with a beautiful temperament—she had to have one to grow up in a house of 3 little girls and all the neighbourhood kids!

tortoiseshell cat print
Polly as The Goddess

“Whilst we got Rosie as a kitten, Polly is the tortie who holds my heart. She was much more than a cat and was my constant companion for the two years we had her. I adored her, she adored me. Then one night she escaped, and my housemate forgot about her and didn’t let her in. I returned home to find her missing and we spent 4 days looking for her, I was distraught and couldn’t cope without her, but then we got a phone call from the vets, Polly was found by a lovely lady (who was also owned by a tortie – Mitzy) who realised how sick she was and took her to the vets. She lasted 2 days before dying of anti-freeze poisoning.”

A tortie print to honor your favorite tortie

I love a good rescue story, and I am always heartened by the stories of rescues and so much love that people share about the torties who share their lives.

Java

A customer ordered this matted and framed print a few days ago. I received the notice in e-mail, then just a few minutes later I received an e-mail from that customer with a photo attached.

“Hi, Bernadette…just thought you’d like to see who I’ve purchased your piece in memory of. This is Java…the best little tortie girl I’ve had the pleasure of knowing. Can’t wait to get it.”

tortoiseshell cat
Java, a beloved tortie cat.

Java is lovely with those pale green eyes and lots of speckles all through her fur, and a very direct and focused expression. Torties are unique not only in markings but also in purrrsonality, and whether they be the ones who make it clear they are the boss or, like my Cookie and Kelly, are non-stop sweet, they are devoted and demand your devotion in return.

I’m always sad at the loss of a kitty and couldn’t be more honored than for someone to purchase a piece of my artwork as a permanent memory of a beloved cat. I was very touched for Java’s human to send Java’s photo and her note along with her order and I asked if I could share Java’s photo and her note. It warms my heart, as I remember Kelly and near the first anniversary of her passing, to know that her Kelly’s image is traveling off to another household to provide comfort and love. I promise my cats they will never be forgotten and I always hope my art ensures that.

My sympathies to Java’s human, I know that she will be one of the torties I think about when I look at prints of The Roundest Eyes.

Flourish-darkgray-100Don’t miss any new items or opportunities!

“Follow” the Portraits of Animals blog with the link in the upper left. Sign up to receive posts in email, or in your favorite reader using the links in the right-hand column.

Sign up for e-newsletters

You can also sign up for my monthly e-newsletters to receive special discounts and find out where I’ll be with my artwork.

Click here for the Creative Cat Preview E-newsletter, for feline and animal-specific products and information.

Click here for the Art & Merchandise E-newsletter, for landscapes, nature, urban scenes and more.

. . . . . . .

© 2017 | www.PortraitsOfAnimals.net | Published by Bernadette E. Kazmarski

All images used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission. Please ask if you are interested in using one in a print or internet publication. If you are interested in purchasing a print of this image or a product including this image, check to see if I have it available already. If you don’t find it there, visit “purchasing” for availability and terms.

 

Wrapping paper, "Tabbies", in primary colors.

Tabbies is a linoleum block print, and each sheet of paper is hand-printed on 100# Kraft paper that are more or less 24″ x 30″; my paper is 30″ wide, and I do my best to cut it from the roll at 24″, usually a little generous.

Paper is shipped folded in quarters. Shipping is included in all prices.

About the artwork

I call the four designs in this set “Tabbies” because “the stripes made me do it!” They are linoleum block prints I designed to print as note cards in 1997. The designs are referenced from photos of my own cats, down to their stripes.

I cut all four designs from one block so that I could lay one 11″ x 17″ sheet of paper over the inked block and print all four cards at once, then trim them down.

The designs are printed in water-based acrylic ink on 100# kraft paper in primaries red, blue and yellow, then also secondaries orange and green plus white.

You may have also seen these designs as note cards, “Summery” and “Brights”.

Block printing is a technique wherein the artist carves the surface of a piece of linoleum, leaving raised areas which will become the image. Ink is rolled onto these raised areas, then a piece of paper is pressed against the block and when it’s lifted away the ink remains, leaving the image on the paper. Because of this process, each print is slightly different and therefore unique.

Other hand-printed wrapping papers include “Meowy Cats Mess”.

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© 2017 | www.PortraitsOfAnimals.net | Published by Bernadette E. Kazmarski

All images used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission. Please ask if you are interested in using one in a print or internet publication. If you are interested in purchasing a print of this image or a product including this image, check to see if I have it available already. If you don’t find it there, visit “purchasing” for availability and terms.

 

 

 

 

These white cotton tees are hand-printed with a linoleum block print, hand-painted to resemble the coloring of my tortie girls, Cookie and Kelly.

Shirts in stock:

I will note that this style of shirt runs small, so order a size larger than usual.

I have limited sizes which are all in the drop-down list for ordering.

Choose your print style:

Detail images of this artwork

ABOUT THE PRINTS

“The Goddess”
Well, everyone knows a fat cat who knows she’s beautiful, and Cookie would tell you that a woman with a round shape was once most desirable and an object of worship.

Not everyone has the room for, or the use for, art on their wall, and I designed these block printed works to be versatile. I do offer them as prints on paper, but I’ve also printed them on sweatshirts, curtains, placemats, tote bags and so on—whatever will hold still long enough for the ink to dry. The black portion is printed in ink, then I go back into the prints and hand tint the shirts by painting ink into the design so that the color stays more durable through washing.

I sign and number each shirt, just as I would a print on paper.

Because of the nature of the medium, each print is unique and ink coverage varies by the surface. Most artists consider this random activity to be part of the process of creating an individualized print, and along with the hand-painting makes a unique wearable work of art. Fabric is lightweight 100% organic African cotton and made in Tanzania bought in a huge lot by Dharma Trading to support their artisans. Shirts are styled with a more open neckline featuring narrow trimmed edge, slightly shorter sleeves and a little more fitted than the average unisex tee, but sizes still run true. I offer shirts in sizes S-M-L-XL.

Tortie Girls

I am unendingly inspired by my houseful of felines, especially those two tortoiseshell calicos, Cookie and Kelly. The framable prints, T-shirts and textiles are printed by hand by the artist from hand-cut linoleum block, then each individually is hand-tinted in bright tortie colors.

These white cotton tees are hand-printed with a linoleum block print, hand-painted to resemble the coloring of my tortie girls, Cookie and Kelly.

Shirts in stock:

I will note that this style of shirt runs small, so order a size larger than usual.

I have limited sizes which are all in the drop-down list for ordering.

Choose your shirt size:

Detail images of this artwork

ABOUT THE PRINTS

“The Roundest Eyes”
Sometimes when I look at Kelly the only feature I can distinguish in all those tortie markings is her extremely round eyes.

Not everyone has the room for, or the use for, art on their wall, and I designed these block printed works to be versatile. I do offer them as prints on paper, but I’ve also printed them on sweatshirts, curtains, placemats, tote bags and so on—whatever will hold still long enough for the ink to dry. The black portion is printed in ink, then I go back into the prints and hand tint the shirts by painting ink into the design so that the color stays more durable through washing.

I sign and number each shirt, just as I would a print on paper.

Because of the nature of the medium, each print is unique and ink coverage varies by the surface. Most artists consider this random activity to be part of the process of creating an individualized print, and along with the hand-painting makes a unique wearable work of art. Fabric is lightweight 100% organic African cotton and made in Tanzania bought in a huge lot by Dharma Trading to support their artisans. Shirts are styled with a more open neckline featuring narrow trimmed edge, slightly shorter sleeves and a little more fitted than the average unisex tee, but sizes still run true. I offer shirts in sizes S-M-L-XL.

Tortie Girls

I am unendingly inspired by my houseful of felines, especially those two tortoiseshell calicos, Cookie and Kelly. The framable prints, T-shirts and textiles are printed by hand by the artist from hand-cut linoleum block, then each individually is hand-tinted in bright tortie colors.

Made of unbleached cotton muslin, this little accent tablecloth is 36″ x 36″ and has the same image printed four times, one on each side. It is signed and dated below the design and has my handwritten “label” reading “handmade, hand-printed, hand-painted” and the year. Washing instructions are included on a separate tag.

I only have one tablecloth. Someday I’ll print some more.

Detail images of this artwork

 

ABOUT THE PRINTS

“The Roundest Eyes”
Sometimes when I look at Kelly the only feature I can distinguish in all those tortie markings is her extremely round eyes.

Not everyone has the room for, or the use for, art on their wall, and I designed these block printed works to be versatile. I do offer them as prints on paper, but I’ve also printed them on sweatshirts, curtains, placemats, tote bags and so on—whatever will hold still long enough for the ink to dry. The black portion is printed in ink, then I go back into the prints and hand tint the shirts by painting ink into the design so that the color stays more durable through washing.

I sign and number each shirt, just as I would a print on paper.

Because of the nature of the medium, each print is unique and ink coverage varies by the surface. Most artists consider this random activity to be part of the process of creating an individualized print, and along with the hand-painting makes a unique work of art.

Tortie Girls

I am unendingly inspired by my houseful of felines, especially those two tortoiseshell calicos, Cookie and Kelly. The framable prints, T-shirts and textiles are printed by hand by the artist from hand-cut linoleum block, then each individually is hand-tinted in bright tortie colors.

All four card styles.

Meowy Cats Mess is a linoleum block print, and each card is hand-printed on cream or kraft card stock.

You’ll find purchasing information below. Shipping is included in all prices.

About the artwork

This 5″ x 7” card is a linoleum block print I designed for my holiday card in 1996. It’s printed in red ink on smooth cream-colored card stock. It’s printed in water-based ink on card stock, hand trimmed and folded and includes a matching envelope. Cards are blank inside and can also be framed.

I like to do something different for my holiday cards every year, and in 1996 I decided I’d revive my love for block printing (and it was one of the creative things I did in the aftermath of losing Kublai and Allegro).

The design is derived from hand-lettering and playing around with fonts, plus tiny cat silhouettes I had designed for various projects; I added a border just to be decorative.

Where most of my other cards are printed commercially, each of these cards is hand-printed by me on my little Speedball printing press. I usually print a run of 48 cards at a time, so each set is in its own way a limited edition.

Block printing is a technique wherein the artist carves the surface of a piece of linoleum, leaving raised areas which will become the image. Ink is rolled onto these raised areas, then a piece of paper is pressed against the block and when it’s lifted away the ink remains, leaving the image on the paper. Because of this process, each print is slightly different and therefore unique.

 

 

 

 

An overall sheet of Meowy Cat's Mess wrapping paper.

Meowy Cats Mess is a linoleum block print, and each sheet of paper is hand-printed on 100# Kraft paper that are more or less 24″ x 30″; my paper is 30″ wide, and I do my best to cut it from the roll at 24″, usually a little generous.

Paper is shipped in a mailing tube. Shipping is included in all prices.

About the artwork

This 5″ x 7” design is a linoleum block print I designed for my holiday card in 1996. I like to do something different for my holiday cards every year, and in 1996 I decided I’d revive my love for block printing (and it was one of the creative things I did in the aftermath of losing Kublai and Allegro).

The design is derived from hand-lettering and playing around with fonts, plus tiny cat silhouettes I had designed for various projects representing all the cats in my house at the time. I added a border just to be decorative. It’s printed in water-based acrylic ink on 80# kraft paper in alternating red and green.

Block printing is a technique wherein the artist carves the surface of a piece of linoleum, leaving raised areas which will become the image. Ink is rolled onto these raised areas, then a piece of paper is pressed against the block and when it’s lifted away the ink remains, leaving the image on the paper. Because of this process, each print is slightly different and therefore unique.

 

 

 

 

Tortie Girls trays, set.

These are lightweight 10″ x 13″ pine wood trays each with a hand-colored and signed block print of my tortie girls, “The Goddess” and “The Roundest Eyes”, adhered in the bottom. Inside of the tray is painted pure white, outside and upper edge is painted pure black with a matte finish on the entire tray.

I usually print about a half-dozen of each block print in acrylic ink on rice paper, allow them to dry, and hand color each one individually with watercolors so I have them on hand. I sign each print when the embellishment is complete and store them in an acid-free sketchbook for framing or whatever else I may use them. Then I give each tray a light sanding and paint each tray with acrylic paint.

I trimmed down the finished, colored print to fit inside the tray and adhere it into the bottom of the tray with acid-free mounting  adhesive. Later I’ll add one coats of finish on the inside of the  tray to protect the print.

The trays are good for decoration on a tabletop or wall, or to use to actually carry lightweight items but are not suitable as a hotpad or to carry heavy dishes or other items. If kept in direct sunlight the watercolors will fade in time but the inks and paints will not. They can be easily wiped down with mild detergent or diluted all-surface cleaner but not immersed in water.

The trays are handmade and may vary slightly in size and shape or have slight imperfections. You may see some paper wrinkling in these prints in the trays; the rice paper tends to pucker up when the ink dries with printing, then again when I watercolor them. I actually iron them to stretch them, but they are never entirely flat. I had originally wanted the prints to look as if they were printed on the trays themselves though that is impossible with the block printing technique, but I think the paper wrinkles adds an interesting element of texture to the trays.

See other gifts featuring my Tortie Girls.

ABOUT THE PRINTS

Tortie Girls

I am unendingly inspired by my houseful of felines, especially those two tortoiseshell calicos, Cookie and Kelly. The framable prints, T-shirts and textiles are printed by hand by the artist from hand-cut linoleum block, then each individually is hand-tinted in bright tortie colors.

Tortie Girls tray, The Goddess.

Tortie Girls tray, The Goddess.

“The Goddess”

Well, everyone knows a fat cat who knows she’s beautiful, and Cookie would tell you that a woman with a round shape was once most desirable and an object of worship. That’s why I call her “The Goddess”.

Tortie Girls tray, The Roundest Eyes.

Tortie Girls tray, The Roundest Eyes.

“The Roundest Eyes”
Sometimes when I look at Kelly the only feature I can distinguish in all those tortie markings is her extremely round eyes.

Not everyone has the room for, or the use for, art on their wall, and I designed these block printed works to be versatile. I do offer them as prints on paper, but I’ve also printed them on sweatshirts, curtains, placemats, tote bags and so on—whatever will hold still long enough for the ink to dry. The black portion is printed in ink, then I go back into the prints and hand tint the shirts by painting ink into the design so that the color stays more durable through washing.

I sign and number each shirt, just as I would a print on paper.

Block printing is a technique wherein the artist carves the surface of a piece of linoleum, leaving raised areas which will become the image. Ink is rolled onto these raised areas, then a piece of paper is pressed against the block and when it’s lifted away the ink remains, leaving the image on the paper.

Because of the nature of the medium, each print is unique and ink coverage varies by the surface. Most artists consider this random activity to be part of the process of creating an individualized print, and along with the hand-painting makes a unique work of art.

 

Set of Tortie Girls wood-mounted prints.

The 9″ x 12″ block, originally intended for painting, is a 1/8″ birch wood panel “cradled” with a 1″ tall canvas stretcher added to the back for strength and stability and, incidentally, ease of hanging, and this size can even stand up on a tabletop. I’ve painted the sides black and mounted a print edge to edge on the top surface, then covered it with acrylic finish. I offer “The Goddess” and “The Roundest Eyes” individually as well as in a set.

The prints are hand-colored and signed block prints of “The Goddess” and “The Roundest Eyes” adhered to the surface. I first print the block print in acrylic ink on rice paper, allow it to dry, and hand color each one individually with watercolors. Then I sand and paint the block with acrylic paint, black on the sides and white on top. I adhere the finished, colored print onto the block and let it dry, then put a coat of matte-finish acrylic on the top and sides.

I usually print about a half-dozen of each block print in acrylic ink on rice paper, allow them to dry, and hand color each one individually with watercolors as I need them, and store them in an acid-free sketchbook for framing or whatever else I may use them. I sign and number each print when the embellishment is complete.

The blocks are handmade and may vary slightly in size and shape or have slight imperfections. You may see some paper wrinkling in these prints; the rice paper tends to pucker up when the ink dries with printing, then again when I watercolor them. I actually iron them to stretch them, but they are never entirely flat. I had originally wanted the prints to look as if they were printed on the trays themselves though that is impossible with the block printing technique, but I think the paper wrinkles adds an interesting element of texture to the trays.

ABOUT THE PRINTS

Tortie Girls

I am unendingly inspired by my houseful of felines, especially those two tortoiseshell calicos, Cookie and Kelly. The framable prints, T-shirts and textiles are printed by hand by the artist from hand-cut linoleum block, then each individually is hand-tinted in bright tortie colors.

"The Goddess" wood-mounted print.

“The Goddess” wood-mounted print.

“The Goddess”

Well, everyone knows a fat cat who knows she’s beautiful, and Cookie would tell you that a woman with a round shape was once most desirable and an object of worship. That’s why I call her “The Goddess”.

"The Roundest Eyes" wood-mounted print.

“The Roundest Eyes” wood-mounted print.

“The Roundest Eyes”
Sometimes when I look at Kelly the only feature I can distinguish in all those tortie markings is her extremely round eyes.

Not everyone has the room for, or the use for, art on their wall, and I designed these block printed works to be versatile. I do offer them as prints on paper, but I’ve also printed them on sweatshirts, curtains, placemats, tote bags and so on—whatever will hold still long enough for the ink to dry. The black portion is printed in ink, then I go back into the prints and hand tint the shirts by painting ink into the design so that the color stays more durable through washing.

I sign and number each shirt, just as I would a print on paper.

Block printing is a technique wherein the artist carves the surface of a piece of linoleum, leaving raised areas which will become the image. Ink is rolled onto these raised areas, then a piece of paper is pressed against the block and when it’s lifted away the ink remains, leaving the image on the paper.

Because of the nature of the medium, each print is unique and ink coverage varies by the surface. Most artists consider this random activity to be part of the process of creating an individualized print, and along with the hand-painting makes a unique work of art.

 

A. Framed, double matted, tinted print (as shown), 16 x 20

Well, everyone knows a fat cat who knows she’s beautiful, and Cookie would tell you that a woman with a round shape was once most desirable and an object of worship. That’s why I call her “The Goddess”.

“The Goddess” is a hand printed, hand tinted linoleum block print of a very round tortoiseshell cat, matted and framed and ready to hang. Image is 8″ x 12″, with mat and frame outside dimensions 16″ x 20″. “The Roundest Eyes” is the other print in this set.

Also scroll down to read about customizing your tortie print.

Options for ordering:

A. Framed, double matted, tinted print (as shown), 16 x 20, $75.00
B. Framed, single matted (cream black core), tinted print, 11 x 14, $60.00
C. Double matted, tinted print, 16 x 20, $55.00
D. Single matted (cream black core), tinted print, 11 x 14, $50.00
E. Print only, tinted, $40.00
F. Print only, black and white, $30.00

Choose your print style:

ABOUT THE PRINT

Above is a hand-printed linoleum block print tinted in tortie colors featuring my Cookie, who was indeed “The Goddess”. From the very first time I showed the design to someone, and each time I set up a display where the prints are included someone, or several, stops by to tell me about a cat they have “who looks just like that”, and tell me stories and share a laugh. People often tell me stories when they purchase prints as well. The number of them who were rescued always warms my heart.

As you know, I am unendingly inspired by my houseful of felines, especially my Tortie Girls. I initially designed these in 2001 because I wanted something I could print myself on a variety of things to offer inexpensively for sale and for donation; at the time high quality home printers and inexpensive digital printing were a few years in the future and all I had to offer was original art and expensive giclees.

Unlike many of the other prints I sell, I print these by hand from a hand-cut linoleum block, then each print is hand-painted in watercolor, and with the slight variations in the printing process and the individualized coloration each print is just as unique as torties themselves. “The Roundest Eyes”, featuring Kelly, is the other print in this set, and I have more information on her, below.

What enchanted me first about block prints years ago, and what I wanted most to see when I began creating with them, was the clarity of black ink on white rice paper. While I often use other colors of ink and types of paper, and when the image is my tortie girls, usually also tinted with oranges and yellows and green for their eyes, pink for nose as I had designed, the black on white is what I usually return to.

When I initially print these two they are that familiar black ink on white, and I watch the ink reveal all the cuts and trims I made on the surface of the block to create their image, it makes me smile as I remember designing the prints and cutting the blocks, and I remember my girls and the inspiration they gave me.

The Goddess

“The Goddess” came along first and I actually have photos of the process, but I knew right away she’d have to have a companion print.

I looked at Cookie on the kitchen floor, on her back with her toes curled, a defiant look on her face, and it happened—that moment of visualization. I could see a linoleum block print in black ink on white rice paper, hand-tinted with oranges and yellows for the patches in Cookie’s tortoiseshell fur and green for her eyes and pink for her nose. I would call the print “The Goddess” for the many women depicted with generous figures in sculpture and painting through the millennia.

Compare the photo and the print:

tortie cat on back
Reference photo for “The Goddess”
Cookie, “The Goddess” block print © B.E. Kazmarski

From the time I first described the idea to someone, who chuckled at the idea of the image, I knew Cookie was a winner. And through the years she has continued to bring people and stories to my display no matter where I am—everyone knows a cat who looks like Cookie!

linoleum block
Linoleum block for The Goddess, of course it’s in reverse.

Cookie inspired not only a design, but a particular style and technique and a new element to my creative life and my merchandise. With an inspiration that strong, I probably would have done it anyway, but I had other reasons as well. In the late 1990s having my sketches and paintings reproduced was still expensive and not always successful and I wanted artwork that I could reproduce easily and inexpensively myself so that I could have something more affordable than original artwork to sell in my displays.

I’d worked with small linoleum block prints for years and always enjoyed the medium, but this time I decided I wanted something larger and I might actually create a series—which led to “The Roundest Eyes” depicting my other tortie, Kelly, a few months later. Between the two, Cookie gets more notice and stories, but Kelly sells more t-shirts and prints…we just never let Cookie know that.

Capturing all Cookie’s freckles and spots and stripes was indeed a challenge, especially when I went to actually cut them out of the surface of the linoleum block.

Cookie’s face in closeup from the photo:

tortie cat on floor
Cookie’s face from the photo.

Cookie’s face in the block:

detail of linoleum block.
Closeup of Cookie’s face in linoleum block; the light areas are the smooth surface that holds the ink.

And here is Cookie’s face, printed and colored!

block print of cat
Closeup of Cookie’s face from “The Goddess”.

The Roundest Eyes

"The Roundest Eyes," matted and framed hand-tinted linoleum block print.
“The Roundest Eyes,” matted and framed hand-tinted linoleum block print.

In designing the set, I didn’t have a signature photo of Kelly as I did Cookie lying on the floor, but I did know how I thought of Kelly—sitting at attention, paws and tail neatly placed, a little uncertain and with very round eyes. When I pictured her, this was what I saw.

I began with a few photos of Kelly sitting in this position—in the days before digitals so I had to wait for film to be developed—sketched it out, then filled in the details by observation. It was a real trick since Kelly never sits still for too long. And I actually wanted two different orientations so Cookie was the horizontal image and Kelly the vertical one.

The design of “The Roundest Eyes” doesn’t have a long and detailed story as does “The Goddess”, but between the two, while Cookie gets more notice and stories which I’ve collected over the years, Kelly sells more t-shirts and prints…we just never let Cookie know that. Last year a young couple just getting engaged purchased one of each shirt to wear in their engagement photos too!

Customizing your tortie print

To a certain extent I can take an untinted print and hand-tint it to resemble your favorite tortie. I can’t remove any of the black that is there or paint over it, but I’ve done several to date.

Rosie from the UK

tortie cat in the grass
Rosie from the United Kingdom

“I found your print of “The Goddess” and think she looks like my cat, Rosie…I live in the UK and was wondering if it was possible to get a print without the frame… If they’re not coloured, would it be possible to get one coloured like Rosie if I sent you a photo? I’m assuming not but thought I’d ask! (Of course I could, and the finished print is below.)

“We got Rosie when I was 11. My dad told me we were going to mum’s boss’s house to pick something up and asked if I wanted to go with him, and as Annie, the boss, had two ginger cats my sisters and I loved to play with I went. When I got there I saw a tiny purring little bundle of fluff and claws and played with her for about an hour. Then dad came in and told me to pick her up, we were going home!

“15 years later, and we’ve moved to another city. Rosie is still going strong, mum had a terrifying moment a few years ago when she felt a lump in Rosie’s belly and [went] to the vets with the instructions to not allow her to be in pain….The vet sent her back with a packet of diet cat food. She’s a wonderful purry old thing, with a beautiful temperament—she had to have one to grow up in a house of 3 little girls and all the neighbourhood kids!

tortoiseshell cat print
Polly as The Goddess

“Whilst we got Rosie as a kitten, Polly is the tortie who holds my heart. She was much more than a cat and was my constant companion for the two years we had her. I adored her, she adored me. Then one night she escaped, and my housemate forgot about her and didn’t let her in. I returned home to find her missing and we spent 4 days looking for her, I was distraught and couldn’t cope without her, but then we got a phone call from the vets, Polly was found by a lovely lady (who was also owned by a tortie – Mitzy) who realised how sick she was and took her to the vets. She lasted 2 days before dying of anti-freeze poisoning.”

A tortie print to honor your favorite tortie

I love a good rescue story, and I am always heartened by the stories of rescues and so much love that people share about the torties who share their lives.

Tasha

A customer ordered a print of “Dinnertime” along with an unframed hand-tinted print of “The Goddess”. I told her the story of Cookie and she told me the story of Tasha, below.

“I just purchased both of them as an anniversary present for my husband. I really like all your art work, but decided on those two because (1)We have three cats and (2)my husband’s baby is a fat (one-eyed, formerly feral) tortie . . . My husband rescued Tasha (tortie) when she was six weeks old. He was working on a job site near a dairy barn in 2003 and found her — she was really sick with a herpes infection in her right eye. We took her to the vet and she recovered immediately after getting care (although she lost the sight in that eye), and we’ve had her ever since. She has never wanted to go outside again . . . We have two other rescue males, but she’s the queen of the house (most of the time!) and has my husband wrapped around her little paw  . . . All the best and thanks so much for rescuing Cookie and other kitties . . .”

photo of tortie cat
Tasha, the rescued tortie.

Now there’s a cat guy! He gets a print of a tortie and three cats eating for his anniversary present, reminiscent of the cat he rescued. I love knowing my girls have a share of immortality when their prints go off to live in other homes and celebrate other tortie cats. You can also read a list of other tortie stories I’ve collected at shows and festivals when people see “The Goddess” especially in “The Goddess Truly Inspires” and “The Artist’s Life: Still Inspiring” as well as “Featured Artwork: The Roundest Eyes”.

Kitty

“This cat on the tee looks so much like my cat “Kitty”. She was a rescue cat..she just showed up at my door, and I took her in. I loved her..she slept with me..back to back, lol. But because of my allergy I needed to give her to a good home. I miss her so much..but it was something I needed to do.”

Kitty’s mom ordered a tee to remember Kitty.

tortoiseshell cat
SadieCat relaxing among the library books.

SadieCat

SadieCat’s mom bought a hand-colored print for herself as a birthday gift.

“…I especially love the pictures of the tortie cats. When I saw the block print of “The Goddess” my heart stopped. Three years ago I rescued a starving little kitten who soon became the love of my life. I couldn’t help myself from attaching a couple of pictures of SadieCat (seen here). Someplace I have a photo where she looks exactly like your print, but I couldn’t find it.

tortoiseshell cat face
Now there’s a face!

“[Sadiecat] will only consent to being held when she’s in the mood and she’ll bite if you’re late with her dinner, but I love her and wouldn’t have her any other way. (Well, I could probably do without the biting). And thanks for…putting Sadie out there, I’m too shy.   She’s shy too, but what she doesn’t know won’t hurt her.”

Visit the original post, The Goddess Truly Inspires, to read more stories and to add your own.

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© 2017 | www.PortraitsOfAnimals.net | Published by Bernadette E. Kazmarski

All images used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission. Please ask if you are interested in using one in a print or internet publication. If you are interested in purchasing a print of this image or a product including this image, check to see if I have it available already. If you don’t find it there, visit “purchasing” for availability and terms.

Kelly's Morning Bath 1 and 2

Kelly gives herself a complete bath every morning after breakfast on the table in front of the window in my studio, her every move full of purpose and industry.

When I created this print, I created two variations, “Kelly’s Morning Bath I” with no border around each frame, and “Kelly’s Morning Bath II” which has a decorative border around each frame incorporated into the design. Below are details of each frame for each print as well as images of each print.

These prints capture sunny mornings as this window in my house faces my lilac and a number of trees which filter the sun, speckling the table with splashes of sun and shadow. They are printed on rice papers with leaves and flower petals imprinted, handmade, fair trade, eco-sensitive paper (could it be any better?) in a dozen varieties of prints with a white or a cream background, and shades of green, rose and rust for spring, summer and fall.

Prints are available on plain white rice paper as well as a variety of handmade papers, and the galleries below show the various papers I’ve used and have available. I also offer framing, shown below.

Options for ordering:

A. Framed, double matted print, either design, 7″ x 14″, $55.00
B. Double matted print, either design 7″ x 14″, $45.00
C. Print only, either design, $35.00

Choose your design

Choose from either Kelly’s Morning Bath I, without the border, or II, with the border.

Choose your print

Choose the number of the print from the galleries below.

Kelly’s Morning Bath I choices:

Kelly’s Morning Bath II choices:

Choose your framing

Style of frame and tones of mat may vary, but the frame will always be plain matte black and the mats will always be in either pink/green or tan/green to coordinate with the print.

Order your print:

ABOUT THE PRINT

You’re probably familiar with “The Roundest Eyes”, a block print inspired by Kelly that I featured in June along with “The Goddess”. In this week to remember little Kelly, I’m also featuring the other block print she inspired—the “Kelly’s Morning Bath” prints were the first feline pictorial block print I designed all the way back in 1998, even before The Tortie Girls duo of block prints.

Kelly bathed frequently and always had the habit of giving herself a complete bath every morning after breakfast in the sun on the table in front of the big casement window, which was then my studio, her every move full of purpose and industry. At some point in the bath sequence, she would always pause and look at me, having been so engrossed in her bath she’d forgotten I was there, one of the habits she maintained from her early life as a frightened stray kitty. I caught a number photos of her in the act, none of them very good, so I pieced it together with photos of the window and Kelly in various bath positions. The photo below will give you an idea of the leafy quality, the light and shadow, and Kelly’s little shape.

Kelly at the Window, Morning.

Kelly at the Window, Morning.

I sketched it up and cut the block—twice, because I wasn’t sure I liked the first version, which is the one below; the second version has an added border around each frame. As it turns out I like both equally well, and since I’ve been printing them on gift bags and tote bags and other things, I’ve come to use version 1 as a framed and matted print because it has just the essential image, and version 2 as an imprint because it has the decorative border, but both look equally good in a mat and frame. I have a little more information about designing the prints and about block printing, below.

About Block Printing

Block printing is a technique wherein the artist carves the surface of a piece of linoleum, leaving raised areas which will become the image. Ink is rolled onto these raised areas, then a piece of paper is pressed against the block and when it’s lifted away the ink remains, leaving the image on the paper. Because of this process, each print is slightly different and therefore unique. Kelly was indeed on my work table to supervise the printing of this block print inspired by her daily morning bath in front of our favorite window. You can see a little demonstration of block printing in this post about my hand-printed Valentines.

The photo above is from 2011 and the one below from 2012, but I really loved watching Kelly bathe enthusiastically every morning in front of this window where the morning sun shines through the leaves at a wonderful angle, silhouetting her and the window itself, visualizing a finished work as a block print to capture the stark dark and light and using various colored and patterned papers to capture the leafy shadows.

Kelly on the windowsill.

Kelly on the windowsill.

I did several sketches and had the idea I’d like to do a multi-frame image to capture her action as a process rather than a just one view; anyone who’s ever watched a cat bathe knows that just one view doesn’t capture the whole sense of the cat bath. I knew I wanted that lovely graceful curve and the silhouette of her looking at me in one frame, and I had to have a “leg in the air” frame of Kelly washing between her toes, and Kelly also has a sweet habit of pausing in the middle of a face wash as if she’s hit a point of meditation—this is the first frame.

Once I decided on the three frames I wanted to use I placed them in various orders, but there was only one sequence that I liked best. Here is my first design for Kelly’s Morning Bath.

Kelly's Morning Bath 1

Kelly’s Morning Bath 1

That looked a little stark, though it was what I’d been visualizing. Then I cut one with a more decorative border, added more of the window and eliminated the shading across the middle keeping it stark black and white, and I liked that design too! They officially became Kelly’s Morning Bath 1 and 2.

 

Kelly's Morning Bath 2

Kelly’s Morning Bath 2

I print them both, and I’ll often print just one panel at a time on items such as gift bags or other small things.

Gift bag sample.

Gift bag sample.

Printing these two designs on unique papers wasn’t part of the design plan, but when I began finding handmade rice papers with leaves and flowers embedded I knew I’d found the best choices. This package of handmade, fair trade, eco-sensitive paper provided a dozen varieties of prints with a white and a cream background, and shades for spring, summer and fall, and I printed one of each print on each sheet.

 

E. Print only, tinted

My welcome of Spring in a matted and framed hand-tinted linoleum block print of a tiny white kitten nestled on a branch with pink spring blossoms and green leaf buds.

Inspired by the idea of a book illustration, it’s just a little thing, image is 5″ x 3.5″, with mat and frame outside dimensions 10″ x 8″. I offer this as a matted and framed hand-tinted print, but you can also purchase a matted and framed black on white print, or either variation without a mat and frame. Mat and frame styles may vary, and because each print is handmade and hand-tinted prints will also vary.

Options for ordering:

A. Black frame, double matted print, tinted, 10″ x 8″, $55.00; +25.00
B. White frame, double matted print, tinted, 10″ x 8″, $55.00; +25.00
C. Black frame, double matted print, black only print, 10″ x 8″, $50.00; +20.00
D. White frame, double matted print, black only print, 10″ x 8″, $50.00; +20.00
E. Print only, tinted, $35.00; +5.00
F. Print only, black only, $30.00
G. Print only on orange flecked rice paper, black only, $30.00
H. Print only on pink silk rice paper, black only, $30.00

Order your print:

ABOUT THE PRINT

I once had a pure white long-haired kitty with pea green eyes and a pink nose named Sally. She was also completely deaf, and completely fearless; without distraction, she lived in her own little world, full of sleep and joy and play. She was the inspiration for many sketches, paintings and photos, and for this little piece as well; click the image to see a gallery of other black and white photos of Sally.

white cat reclining

Sally reclining, click the photo to see more black and white photos of Sally.

Almost everywhere I’ve lived there has been a quince bush, an old-fashioned favorite for its early bright pink flowers—so early, in fact, that the bush in my neighbor’s yard in the years when Sally was young bloomed every year during the January thaw, and then snow would fall on the bright pink blooms, nestling in the curve of the branches like Sally when she’d found a good cozy spot.

Below is the actual reference photo I used for this block print. Can you see the white kitten shape in the snow? Scroll down to the detail of the block print below.

quince blossoms with snow

Quince blossoms with snow, the actual reference photo for this block print.

Sure, I took some artistic license with the snow, but that’s what art is all about—and the shape you see below is what I actually saw when I got the photos back and flipped through them (remember those days?), and though it was years before I created this little print the idea stayed with me all that time.

I had actually also used the image for a few other projects as I explored my own talents and my abilities to turn what I’d visualized into a finished piece of artwork—you’ll see one of those below, modeled by Mimi. It’s always interesting to find several interpretations in one image!

The style of this design was inspired after studying and practicing many illustration traditions, from Asian-inspired block prints and brush paintings to metal and wood etchings and block prints used for books and periodicals. Another photo in the series from that roll of film shows the branch with the flowers against a brilliant blue sky, and I put that together with the soft little pile of snow in the angle which became the sleeping kitten.

Also inspired by the idea of a book illustration, it’s just a little thing, image is 5″ x 3.5″, and manuscripts were often illustrated with wood block prints. It’s difficult for me to carve wood, so I’ve gone for artist’s linoleum, much easier on my hands.

Block printing is a technique wherein the artist carves the surface of a piece of linoleum, leaving raised areas which will become the image. Ink is rolled onto these raised areas, then a piece of paper is pressed against the block and when it’s lifted away the ink remains, leaving the image on the paper. Visit my post featuring “Fawnball” and the Tabbies series of note cards for a demonstration of block printing.

I began only printing this on white rice paper in black or hand-tinted as you see here, and sold them framed and unframed.

I love colored rice paper as well as handmade and unusual papers, though, and every year I create a few on new and different papers. Of necessity, they can only have a small amount of texture and small or muted patterns so that they don’t compete with the print.

My wood-mounted and keepsake art was quite popular and fun to make, so I also made up a few 4″ x 6″ wood-mounted prints and have a few 5″ x 7″ blocks as well as small keepsake boxes on hand for the next part of the experiment.

Wood-mounted "Spring Kitten" print, 4" x 6",

Wood-mounted “Spring Kitten” print, 4″ x 6″

I also offer this image as a wood-mounted piece and on various textiles, such as t-shirts, curtains, tablecloths, shawls and tote bags. You can click any image in this post to find the item for sale in my Etsy shop, or to find everything that’s available featuring this little piece of artwork, search my Etsy shop for: “SPRING KITTEN”, which will bring up all the items currently available.

Because of the nature of the medium, each print is unique and ink coverage is not always perfect. Most artists consider this random activity to be part of the process of creating an individualized print, and along with the hand-painting makes a unique work of art.

Epilogue

I had actually also used the image for a few other projects as I explored my own talents and my abilities to turn what I’d visualized into an finished piece of artwork. It’s always interesting to find several interpretations in one image, and I created this one before I felt really confident in my drawing skills and was experimenting with ripped-paper collage, popular in the late 80s, using a piece of matboard, construction paper and tempera paints…it’s a bit worse for the wear of 25 years, with a few pieces missing.

paper collage

“Petals on a Wet Black Bough: After Ezra Pound”

And of course I can’t photograph any artwork without my composition and lighting director cruising through…and it’s an interesting thought to connect my feline households of long ago with today’s in this way.

black cat with artwork

Mimi adjusts the lighting by walking through.